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Invasive Species: Grass Carp

Grass Carp

(Ctenopharyngodon idella)
*Detected in the Great Lakes*


Report this species to:

Lucas Nathan, DNR Fisheries Division,, 517-599-9323.

If possible, please take one or more photos of the invasive species you are reporting. Also make note of the location, date and time of the observation. This will aid in verification of your report. You may be asked to provide your name and contact information if follow-up is needed.

- Or - use the invasive (Asian) carp reporting form.

- Or - use the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) online reporting tool.

- Or - download the MISIN smartphone app and report from your phone -


  • Can reach lengths of more than 5 feet, weight can reach more than 80 lbs.
  • Eyes sit even with the mouth.
  • Large scales that appear crosshatched.
  • Shorter dorsal fin than goldfish or common carp.

Grass carp illustration
Illustration by Joseph R. Tomelleri


grass carp photo
Photo courtesy of  USDA APHIS PPQ,

A threat to the Great Lakes!

Grass carp feed on plants, consuming up to 90 pounds of food a day.  The fish can only digest half of the food and expel the rest, contributing to algal blooms.

Grass carp can destroy weed beds used by native fish for spawning and nursery areas and damage wetland ecosystems and waterfowl habitat.

Habitat: Preferred habitat for grass carp are quiet, shallow waters. When temperatures decrease, deeper waters are used. Grass carp are tolerant to low levels of salinity, so they may occasionally enter brackish water.

Diet: Obligate herbivores - consume between 20% and 100% of their body weight per day.

Native Range: Eastern Asia from the Amur River to eastern Russia and China south to West River of southern China.

U.S. Distribution: Grass carp have been recorded in 45 states in the U.S. They have not been reported as introduced to Alaska, Maine, Montana, Rhode Island, or Vermont.

Potential Means of Introduction: Dispersal, unauthorized stocking or release, escape from commercial aquaculture.


How to Identify Black Carp vs. Silver Carp - video

Grass Carp Invasive Species Alert - pdf

Juvenile Asian Carp Identification - video

Proposed 2010 Plan for the Prevention, Detection, Assessment, and Management of Asian Carps in Michigan Waters

Status Report for the Proposed 2010 Plan for the Prevention, Detection, Assessment, and Management of Asian Carps in Michigan Waters, April 2012

Status and Strategy for Grass Carp Management This document provides in-depth information about Grass Carp in the State of Michigan including identification, distribution, management, and control options.

Don’t confuse young Asian carp with common Michigan species! - brochure

For more information and videos, please visit: Invasive Carp